Scott Hunter, left, chairman of the Oxford Board of Selectmen, listens alongside Selectman Caldwell Jackson and Town Manager Butch Asselin as Codes Enforcement Officer Joelle Corey-Whitman gives an update on junkyard properties. Nicole Carter/Advertiser Democrat Buy this Photo

OXFORD — After one of the firms bidding to rehabilitate part of the Thompson Lake Dam requested its proposal be withdrawn, the Board of Selectmen voted unanimously Thursday night, in accordance with the town manager’s recommendation, that the remaining two bids be rejected and the bidding process be restarted.

New bids will be solicited, with an eye to scheduling the work to start next September.

Chesterfield Associates asked to have its $444,275 bid withdrawn. The other bids were from Kingsbury Companies LLC for $529,400 and H.E. Callahan Construction for $1.06 million.

“I spoke with (the Maine Department of) Inland Fisheries and Wildlife and they agree that fall is a great time to do the project,” Town Manager Butch Asselin said. “It will have no bearing on spawning, better construction prices and take less time to complete. Fall is a more quiet time on the lake.”

Local residents took the opportunity to share their thoughts on the project.

Scott Bernardy of Otisfield said he supported the decision to delay the project. He suggested that lowering the lake level over the winter will help the dam withstand the pressures of snowmelt and spring rains.

Bernardy also spoke about the need to draft a comprehensive plan for repairing and maintaining the dam as a whole, and involving neighboring towns — Otisfield, Casco and Poland — with properties on the lake.

“The town of Otisfield is not going to give more than $5,000 a year, as they’ve done for years, without a comprehensive plan,” Bernardy said.

Bill Booth and Jim Skinner, both of Oxford, agreed with Bernardy.

“We need a strategy for the dam and we need the other towns on board,” Booth said.

He urged the board to consider repairing stop logs for the east gate on the dam at a cost of $50,000 to $100,000 while Oxford pursues a comprehensive plan for the dam as a whole, not just one section that may cost more than $1 million to rehabilitate.

“The discovery of bowed boards in the dam spurred action to rehabilitate,” Skinner said. “But the temporary repairs done have put other sections of the dam at more risk from increased pressure.”

Codes Enforcement Officer Joelle Corey-Whitman updated selectmen on several junkyards. She said she just learned a junkyard at 332 Robinson Hill Road is facing foreclosure.

Corey-Whitman recommended delaying action on the property for zoning violations because she expected it will be easier for the town to work with the bank possessing it.

The property is jointly owned by Irene Kimball and her granddaughter, Shannon Mason. They had been required by settlement agreement reached in Paris District Court to bring the property into compliance by July 1, 2019, but had not done so.

At the board’s request, Corey-Whitman will also check if fences along junkyards on Station Road and Main Street are in compliance with ordinances. She said another junkyard on Tiger Hill Road was out of compliance because of missed application deadlines.


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